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Morehead, James Turner

11 Jan. 1799–5 May 1875

Signature of James Turner Morehead 1799-1875. Image from Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.James Turner Morehead, lawyer, legislator, and congressman, was born in Rockingham County, the son of John and Obedience Motley Morehead. He attended the Reverend David Caldwell's school in Guilford County and was graduated from The University of North Carolina in 1819. Afterwards he studied law in Virginia, was licensed, and established a practice in Greensboro. He was frequently a town commissioner and in 1832 drew up regulations for the government of Greensboro, many of the provisions of which pertained to public health and were advanced for the times.

Morehead served five terms in the state senate between 1835 and 1842 and in the U.S. House of Representatives as a Whig during the years 1851–53, after which he declined to be a candidate for reelection. In addition to practicing law, he also had farming interests and operated the Troublesome ironworks. Although Morehead strongly opposed secession, his four sons were Confederate officers; after the war he retired to private life and occupied himself with his business affairs.

He married Mary Teas Lindsay, and they were the parents of four sons, Robert Lindsay, John Henry, James T., Jr., and Joseph Motley, and two daughters, Annie Eliza (Mrs. Theodore Whitfield) and Mary Harper. His wife died when the children were still young, and he lavished great care and devotion on them as they grew. Morehead was buried in the Presbyterian churchyard in Greensboro.


Biog. Dir. Am. Cong. (1961).

Bettie D. Caldwell, comp., Founders and Builders of Greensboro, 1808–1908 (1925).

John L. Cheney, Jr., ed., North Carolina Government, 1585–1979 (1981).

Daniel L. Grant, Alumni History of the University of North Carolina, 1795–1924 (1924).

Greensboro Daily News, [September?] 1965 (North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill).

Who Was Who in America, vol. 1 (1967).

Additional Resources:

"Morehead, James Turner, (1799 - 1875)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Washington, D.C.: The Congress. (accessed May 7, 2013).

"Address of James Turner Morehead , November 21, 1818." Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (accessed May 7, 2013).

Moore, Carol. Greensboro's First Presbyterian Church Cemetery, (Nc). Arcadia Publishing, 2006. 31. (accessed May 7, 2013).

Image Credits:

"Address of James Turner Morehead , November 21, 1818." Documenting the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (accessed May 7, 2013).

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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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